By Sarah Langford, COM 250 Reporter
Edited by Mackenzie Bryan, COM 303 Editor
ROME, Ga. – Berry College English students host a young writers’ workshop at a local Rome library to promote creative writing within the community.
Utterances is a workshop for young writers, grades kindergarten to 12. It is part of a senior level seminar course at Berry College, which is a section of the Academic Community Engagement, or ACE, project. Berry professors, Dr. Sandra Meek and Dr. William Donnelly, both teach the course and take turns teaching every time the course is offered. This course is offered for creative writing majors every three semesters.
ACE courses focus on targeting and resolving issues within the community. This program is tied to the course Writing and the Community held at Berry, which oversees Utterances. Utterances works to create a sense of community and inspire collaboration between the Berry students who work with this program and the community’s individuals who are there to learn about creative writing.
“Utterances is meant to provide something most high school students don’t have, which is a creative writing workshop,” Dr. Meek said. “It gives students at a difficult time in life, a way to express themselves.”
These students get first-hand experience on how writing can be impactful beyond just formal needs. They use different prompts and topics to inspire different forms of writing, as well as helps students with their own individual stories. Writing has several purposes that Utterances is trying to bring forward and discuss. They focus on teaching these children to expand their writing skills and to explore their creativity.
“The best surprise is whenever you present something to see if it works and the kids actually take to it,” Utterances member Jack Padgett said. “They get to stretch their creative muscles, which is what we always want.”
Utterances is interested in expanding and reaching new students, for example, spreading the word and educating others about their program. They use platforms such as social media and print sources to attract attention and to give out information as to when they have meetings. Their Facebook page is their primary platform used to display all information regarding the program.
“We are working on a 30 second commercial that will be shown during homeroom periods in local schools and possibly through local television stations,” Dr. Donnelly said. “We are also designing bookmarks that will be at the library and possibly bookstores in town.”
Utterances previously had been working out of the North Broad Youth Center but have since moved to the Sara Hightower Public Library to continue their weekly workshops in the Coosa Room.
The Utterances program has great potential and is unique compared to any previous workshops provided for the Rome community. The program will continue to expand and grow as Utterances focuses on meeting the community’s needs.